Daily Devotions What is Propitiation?


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1 John 4:9-11 (NIV)

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

In verse 10 is a word often translated as “atoning sacrifice” or “propitiation.” This legal term means that someone deserved punishment for something they did or said. However, the consequences of that action are taken away and given to someone else (propitiated). The punishment is not simply forgotten, but removed from the guilty and placed somewhere else. Someone is still punished. John says this is the basis for how we understand God’s love: that Jesus took upon himself the guilt, shame and punishment that was due to us and we were given a new, restored relationship with the Father! This week we will try to better understand why propitiation is such Good News for us. Today, let us start the week by asking God to help us focus on what Christ has done for us, not what we have done for God, so that we can better understand how we ought to love others.

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